HALLANDALE BEACH, FL, July 7, 2018 – The calendar and thermometer reads summertime but for the 2022 class of three-year-olds, the livin’ ain’t exactly easy. For this class, the Oaks and Derbies will continue.
Belmont Park will have a pair of Grade 1s on the Elmont lawn, races with international participation and the usual super connections staying in or shipping to Long Island in search of super bucks.
But Mid-America isn’t done with their big sophomore shows, either. In Iowa, specifically Prairie Meadows, and Indiana, at Horseshoe Indianapolis, there will be Derbies and Oaks galore.
The Big Apple will produce the Belmont Derby and Belmont Oaks. Both are invitationals and each are run at the classic American distance of a mile and a quarter.
A mile and a sixteenth will be the trip for the Iowa Derby and Oaks , just as it will be in Indiana. And while many of the six will feature strong favorites, these races are more open than they appear on paper.
And that’s the way, ah-ha, ah-ha, most players like it, and we will begin our parimutuel pursuits in the Hoosier state in a pair of Grade 3s.
G3 INDIANAPOLIS OAKS
The Skinny: Three of the eight have caught our eye as possible winners: Interstatedaydream (9-5), Candy Raid (4-1) and North County (5-1). The early line favorite is a Brad Cox trainee who was third to Nest in the G1 Ashland and won the G2 Black-Eyed Susan well enough. She’s 3-for-5 in life and will be a very tough out.
Candy Raid’s last on grass was for practice after he actually ran sneaky good in what was for her a troubled Kentucky Oaks. Keith Desormeaux is 27% going turf to dirt and the pole sitter switches to James Graham. Her odds might drift higher, depending on the love the Cox filly gets.
North County has won twice at today’s trip and last out suffered through a wide trip in the AW Bourbonette. She finished well while six wide in the lane behind Candy Raid who got first run and made the most of it.
*Late Edits: Uncoupled Patna (9-2) is not as fast as these but developing nicely for Cox; leading H.I. rider Martin Pedroza gets the call.
MOST PROBABLE WINNER: Interstatedaydream
THE VALUE BET: Candy Raid to win at 4-1 or greater
EXOTICA: Exacta Box 1-5-6 *Exacta Box 1-3-5 *Trifecta Key: 5 first and second with 1-3-6.
G3 INDIANA DERBY
The Skinny: May be overthinking this but 5-2 favorite Rattle N Roll will be on my ticket as insurance only. Will Ken McPeek scratch the last week’s Stephen Foster undercard winner, and will the short rest flatten him out?
This one’s a scramble. First and maybe last question is what to do with one-eyed wonder, Un Ojo? First-time Diodoro is your call but Rebel winner would be attractive if early line of 6-1 holds. After that, there are three upwardly mobile developers.
*King Ottoman (5-1) is fast, forward-looking, and has excellent spacing and connections.
Best Actor (4-1) is 2-for-2 for Cox and was clearly best winning from a wide draw, racing wide throughout, including his turn move and, although diving hard, did manage a final quarter of 24.97 despite failing to change leads.
Actuator (7-2) only recently broke maiden but the first-time Michael McCarthy runner drew out to win by 7-1/4, running 7F in 1:21 3/5 with a final eighth in 12.44. He impressed favorably.
MOST PROBABLE WINNER: Best Actor
THE VALUE BET: King Ottoman to win at 9-2 or greater
EXOTICA: Exacta Box 22.214.171.124. Superfecta Wheel 4-7-8-9 // 126.96.36.199 // 1-4-6-7-8-9 // 1-4-6-7-8-9
G3 IOWA OAKS Race 7
The Skinny: Five of the eight fillies entered are in with a good chance. But as for the 5-2 early favorite, Candy Raid, will she even run here? If she were mine, I’d take the pole position at Hoosier and take my chances. But it’s up to Keith Desormeaux, not me.
Without her, the Todd Pletcher filly Falconet (7-2) will probably go favorite. She won around two turns at Keeneland and was a game, come-again, flat-mile winner at CD; Javier Castellano is in to ride.
What to do with Butterbean (5-1). She absolutely romped as a perfect trip prep winner over the surface but is a prime bounce candidate given her last-out Thoro-Graph. At 5-1 I might risk it. At 5-2, she’s not for me.
Nosilverspoonshere (6-1) is interesting. Claimed for $100K from her very fast winning 7F KEE debut, she appeared overconfidently handled at odds-on in her first run around two turns at CD. She stayed very well but was unable to match strides with a perfect-trip, one-run winner but finished 5-1/4 ahead of the show filly.
MOST PROBABLE WINNER: Falconet at 5-2 or more [assuming Candy Raid scratch]
THE VALUE BET: Nosilverspoonshere to win at 4-1 or greater
EXOTICA: Exacta Box 3-4-8. Exacta Box 3-6-8. Trifecta Wheel 3 // 4-6-8 // 1-4-5-6-8. Trifecta Wheel 4-6-8 // 3 // 1-4-5-6-8
G3 IOWA DERBY Race 8
The Skinny: This probably would be a better spot for quick turnaround Rattle N Roll. He’s already a Grade 1 winner and trainer Ken McPeek is 8-for-17 shipping into PrM. Again, a defensive use for me. Major General (2-1) is reunited with Javier Castellano, who knows how to use this colt’s versatility. His placing to Tawny Port was probably more impressive as he was pressed hard every step pf the way.
Conagher (4-1) freaked twice recently sprinting for Mike Tomlinson and has bottom-side pedigree for the stretch-out.
Ain’t Life Grand (10-1) finished gamely for third after a very tough between-horses-while-wide-throughout journey.
Fast-working Actuator (8-1), yet another cross-entered at Horseshoe, showed much improvement first-time McCarthy, as noted earlier.
MOST PROBABLE WINNER: Major General
THE VALUE BET: Conagher to win at 3-1 or greater
EXOTICA: Exacta and Trifecta Key 3 first and second with 188.8.131.52, extra ticket with 3 on top.
G1 BELMONT OAKS INVITATIONAL Race 7
The Skinny: This 10 furlong test features British turf royalty vs. American turf royalty—Charlie Appleby and Aidan O’Brien matched up against two Chad Brown entrants.
Were Agartha (10-1) to upset the proceedings, it wouldn’t be the first time that Joseph O’Brien would upstage papa Aidan, who has the most accomplished runner in the field, Group 1-placed Concert Hall (3-1), exiting three straight Group 1s, beaten a mere 4-1/2 lengths two back in the Epsom Oaks.
All five fillies will be suited to the mile and-a-quarter. In the G3 Regret, McKulick (6-1) was pace compromised but came with a strong rally too late but never threatened the winner who had slipped away. The Frankel filly galloped out strongly.
Stablemate Haughty (5-1) is the more accomplished of the pair, finishing third from post 11 in the BC Juvenile Turf last fall, coming with a strong, wide too-late kick. In her 3-year-old debut, she took the Penn Oaks with authority but likely was aided by the bottomless ground.
Godolphin filly With The Moonlight (6-1) appears the type that will be suited by the harder ground. She took the listed Pretty Polly with style in her but found the going probably a little soft for her speedy gait and 12 furlongs beyond her scope at this point of her career.
A big, scopey girl, she will appreciate the footing and Frankie Dettori, having amicably split with John Gosden, has extra incentive to impress Appleby. Expect Frankie to play this off the break.
MOST PROBABLE WINNER: Concert Hall
WIN VALUE BET: With The Moonlight to win at 9-2 or greater.
*EXOTICA: Exacta Box 3-4-10. Exacta Wheel 4-10 with 1-3-4-9-10. Trifecta and Superfecta Key 4 first and second with 1-3-9-10
*Revised exacta box 12:16 pm on 070922
G1 BELMONT DERBY INVITATIONAL Race 9
The Skinny: Well, if I were contemplating a horizontal wager, I would need to include seven of the 13 entrants. The good news is that half of those are double-digits on the early line. Our top contenders are a mix of Americans and Europeans
Of the locals, Stolen Base (10-1) has developed nicely this season, is drawn inside with Saez; can trip out for a slice. Sy Dog (10-1) rates to benefit from his most recent, a too late rally for third. Tiz the Bomb (6-1) has kept classic company now returns to his optimal surface.
But the Euros are the most likely of the group. Stone Age (9-2) has excellent tactical speed and can finish for Team O’Brien/Moore.
Royal Patronage (12-1) was an excellent second in the G2 Dante behind eventual and impressive Gr. 1 Epsom Derby winner Desert Crown; Joel will know what to do with his late kick. Machete (20-1) will appreciate the firmer ground—and getting away from a killer, Vadeni, the recent Gr 1 French Jockey Club hero.
MOST PROBABLE WINNER: Stone Age
THE VALUE BET: Royal Patronage to win at 10-1 or greater
EXOTICA: Exacta Box 6-8-13. Exacta Box 8-13. Superfecta Wheel: 6-8-13 // 6-8-13 // 2-6-7-8-9-13 // 2-6-7-8-9-13.
Note that many Indiana and Iowa horses have been cross-entered at both venues; obviously race dynamics could change dramatically on raceday. Per usual, multiple pools at minimums available; straight wagers are in $2 units or ratios thereof
this is a live column and will be updated periodically through Saturday